We all love barbeque. I mean I know my love for it is unconditional. If you are lucky enough (or perfectionist enough) to fit smoking food in your tight schedule then consider this article a treat!
In today’s episode of what’s smoking in the smoker, we bring you a guide about how to smoke sausages at home. If you have a functional smoker, and some chunks of flavored woods along with minced beef then you are all set to start your journey of smoking sausages.
What is Smoked Sausage?
Smoked Sausages are a package of delight that comes in long slender shape. These sausages can be made of any meat you prefer – beef, chicken, turkey and the list just goes on! Sausages are made of minced or ground beef that are mixed with an adequate amount of herbs and spices to make it more fun and flavorful.
How To Smoke Sausage
Smoking Sausage is super easy and quick! That’s why they are mostly known as the beginner meat for smoking (I just made that up, but it really is the perfect option to go for if you are new in this smoking gang.)
In order to know how to make these smoked sausages at home, one should have a smoker, a packet of wood chips and uncooked sausages!
Preheating Your Smoker
The most crucial step is to preheat the smoker to desired temperature. This rule goes out for every time you decide to start smoking something.
If you are a beginner and wondering why everyone really emphasize on preheating the smoker, well, you don’t really crack an egg in a cold pan right? The preheated smoker not only makes your smoker hot, but also instantly gives the meat the desired temperature it requires to be cooked or smoked.
Choosing The Wood
Once your smoker has been preheated, add in your favorite hardwood in the wood chip tray. I personally prefer going for a stronger flavored wood such as hickory and mesquite. This is because the sausages naturally do not come with strong flavor, so with the help of herbs, spices and the right wood chips, the sausages miraculously transform into a richly flavored meat.
However, it’s just my opinion! If you want your sausages with mild smoky flavor then you can go for pecan or maple wood, and for sweet fruity flavor you should definitely get your hands on cherry and apple woods!
Once the woods are inside, your smoker should start emitting almost invisible gas out of the chimney. It is important to know the color of the smoke as this smoke surrounds your food before ejecting out. If your smoker is producing black smoke, chances are your sausages will turn out unnecessarily black and taste like greasy coal.
Note: Please do not soak the woods! It really doesn’t keep your food moist, it only delays the smoking process.
Most smokers usually come with a water pan, so add adequate amount of water in it and put it in the cooking chamber of your smoker. Now this helps in maintaining the temperature inside and keeps it humid enough to keep the moisture of the sausages intact.
Since this guide is about making smoked sausages at home, I’m assuming we are starting from the scratch. Sausages are made from ground beef. To give it an extra flavor, we add some spices and herbs of our choice. Now it is important to indulge some good fat into the ground beef for sausages. Trust me on this one, I have tried making sausages of lean meat only and they turned out so dry and chewy. So keep the fat in it for extra juiciness and tastiness.
I’d prefer getting a brisket or short ribs for your sausages as these two beef cuts come with ideal ratio of lean meat and fat. However, if you are feeling a bit experimental, try mixing up brisket with sirloin steak it really does taste delicious.
Once the meat is ready, fill it up in casings. Casings not only give the sausages its true shape, but also helps in retaining the fats and juiciness as well.
Note: Many people poke holes in the sausages to increase the surface area and get the sausages done quickly in the smoker. However, this procedure comes with a drawback. Poking holes gives access for all the juiciness to evaporate into thin air, and we all know what really happens when a meat loses its moisture. It turns super dry and chewy – ruining everything you’ve worked hard for.
How Long To Smoke Sausage?
Now that the sausages are in the smoker, this is where the patience game (beginner level) begins.
Sausages normally don’t take much time to get cooked. As compared to supreme cuts like brisket and ribs, sausages do not ask much of your time. The usual smoking time ranges from 1 to 3 hours max. But this timing can differ depending on what sort of sausages you have and what temperature you are aiming for.
Now there are two types of sausages available in the market, cooked and uncooked. Cooked ones obviously require no cooking, so the purpose of adding it in the smoker is to give that nice smoky touch to it. At 275° F, the cooked sausages only need to be smoked for 30 minutes – this should give nice texture to the sausages.
Uncooked sausages on the other hand, obviously require cooking and smoking to get it ready for serving or preserving. Speaking of preserving, I like to smoke these sausages all at once. The leftovers can be put in the freezer for up to 2 months, and in the refrigerator for almost a week. These come out very handy for one of those days where you don’t feel like smoking or cooking anything really. Make sure you are putting these sausages in an airtight container before putting it in the fridge or freezer.
What Temperature To Smoke Sausages At?
I believe keeping an eye on thermometer is more crucial than seeing the clock tick. Time can vary if the temperature isn’t consistent. The ideal temperature to cook and smoke your sausages is mostly 225° F. And at this temperature, it will roughly take an hour to be cooked.
I would recommend getting a meat thermometer so you can keep track of the internal temperature of the sausages. And once the internal temperature reaches 160° F, it is safe enough to be taken out of the smoker.
How To Maintain Temperature Of Smoker?
Temperature inside the smoker can be maintained by many ways. Firstly, once the sausages are in the smoker, try not opening the lid frequently as heat is tremendously lost when done so. Secondly, keep a water pan in the smoker, this actually helps in keeping the temperature constant.
Lastly, keep a watchful eye on the wood chips that are burning to create the smoke. If temperature seems to go down or smoke isn’t being produced like before, it’s time to add a new batch of wood chips.
Taking Smoked Sausages Out
Once the probe thermometer tells you the internal temperature has reached 160° F, take these sausages out and give them a nice dip in cold water until the temperature reaches 120° F.
Then put the sausages on a dry sheet and let it get back to room temperature. The smoked sausages are now completely done, you can have it however the way you like them! I eat these smoked sausages in the most classic way – sausage in the roll with mustard, cheese and ketchup on it!
Is Smoked Sausage Healthy?
All barbequed foods are good for our health. People often are seen eating BBQ smoked food to stay healthy. So it is safe to say that smoked sausages are actually good for our health. However, please do keep in mind that even good food become unhealthy if not eaten in certain amount.
How To Tell If Smoked Sausage Is Bad?
Your senses help you in telling whether a smoked sausage is in good or bad condition. Smoked Sausages, when turned bad, start giving an unbearable smell that will almost make you gag.
Its color also changes to slight grayish green. If your sausages meat start appearing like I have described just now, do not think of fixing it up with something. All it needs is to be disposed off properly.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Can Smoked Sausage Be Stored?
Yes! Smoked Sausages can be stored without losing its true flavor. All you need is an airtight container before putting in the refrigerator or freezer. Sausages can be out in the fridge for 5 to 6 days, while freezer exceeds the limit to 2 months.
Does Smoked Sausage Go Bad?
All foods tend to find their way towards turning bad, and smoked sausage is no exception. If sausages are not stored properly, it will surely get spoiled. To prevent the smoked sausages from going bad, make sure you are putting it in an airtight container.
Is Smoked Sausage Keto Friendly?
Whether it be chicken, beef, turkey or combination of meat, all meats come with low to almost no carbs. Since keto diet is all about consuming low carbs, this makes smoked sausage the perfect food to appear on your plate!
Is Smoked Sausage Gluten Free?
Well if you are trying to make smoked sausages at home, then you can’t really have gluten free ones. All meats come with traces of gluten in it. But it’s not something to be sad about! There are many brands out there that are selling gluten free sausages, so you don’t have to worry about sausages slipping out of your hands!